University of Pittsburgh

From the classroom, to the city, to the world. Pitt Business Alum finds success in Dubai.

Friday, October 23, 2015

With modern sky-scrapers, magnificent architectural buildings, luxurious hotels, and the world’s largest shopping mall, it’s no surprise that Dubai has emerged as a global business hub of the Middle East. This vibrant city has also grown into one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. Ian Riddick in Catch NY Restaurant in Dubai. Ian Riddick Catch NY Dubai BSBA '03

According to AME info, a Middle East Business publication, Dubai is the world’s fourth most-visited destination, with about 16 million tourists expected to visit in 2016. Dubai intends to double the tourist visitation by 2020, which may translate into tremendous growth for the hospitality industry.

Inspired by a friend who had found success in the hospitality industry in Dubai, Ian Riddick (BSBA ’03) decided to globalize his career and leave his role as VIP host for the Hyde Bellagio, Las Vegas.

“I came out here with a few friends and our goal was to create something we could be proud of in a city, country, and continent that none of us had ever seen before,” said Riddick.

Now more than a year since his relocation, Riddick has established himself as a successful guest relations manager for Catch NY restaurant in Dubai. He is primarily responsible for organizing special events, ensuring guest satisfaction, and generating restaurant business.

Riddick is so successful that a profile in Esquire magazine declared, “every restaurant in Dubai should have an Ian Riddick looking after diners and making sure a good time is being had.”

“Pitt Business gave me the foundation to build on to prepare me for this role. A significant part of my job is merely relating to people, just learning to find some common ground. I learned that early in both the classroom and on campus,” said Riddick.

Riddick explains that the transition has been both challenging and rewarding beyond his expectations.

“Every day I meet people from different cultures and parts of the world. It’s really amazing to exchange ideas with people who grew up thousands of miles away from you and to see what they consider commonplace or ‘normal’. It has really opened my eyes and shown me that there are so many ways to view every situation,” said Riddick.

Although Riddick is now living over 7,000 miles from the University of Pittsburgh, he remains an active and engaged member of the Pitt Business Alumni Network, and even helped to organize an Alumni gathering in Dubai this past August.

And as a proud former member of the Pitt football team, catching as many games as possible by way of mobile applications and social media, is a top priority for Riddick. 

So what is his advice for students with global aspirations?

“Knowing languages, cultures, regions, and local and global business trends will all be key components to your success,” said Riddick.

The Global Business Institute gives students an opportunity to study and practice business at our international Pitt Business campuses. Discover how you can start globalizing your career today!